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J.J. Henry continues to make the most of the back nine at Montreux G&CC, collecting 27 of his 36 points on the inward nine through 54 holes. What will he do as he tees off in the final round? If it’s anything like the first few days, he should be able to collect his first win since 2006.
Henry leads the field with three eagles through 54 holes after making holing a pitch shot from just off the green at the 308-yard par-4 14th on Saturday. It was the second time this week Henry jarred one from the fairway (the other came in the first round at the 423-yard par-4 12th, his third hole of the day, with a 9-iron from 167 yards).
Henry entered the week ranked 126 th on the PGA TOUR in total eagles with only three in his first 24 events.
The only other time Henry has held a 54-hole lead? The 2006 Travelers, where he went on to record his first and only career win.
He has a solid track record here, too, with three career top 10s, including a tie for third in 2002, in seven starts.
Should Henry go on to win, he would earn a spot in next week’s PGA Championship.
Chasing Henry is Brazil’s Alexandre Rocha, who is three points back.
Rocha is in position for his career-best finish on the PGA TOUR. Entering the Reno-Tahoe Open, Rocha’s best result in 41 TOUR events was a tie for 20th at the 2011 Children’s Miracle Network Classic.
Should he go on to win, Rocha would become the first player born outside of the United States to win in the 14-year history of the Reno-Tahoe Open. Rocha would also become the first player from Brazil to win on TOUR.
The best round of the day, so far, in the day-late first round belongs to a guy who’s won in Hawaii before: Stuart Appleby. While the Aussie’s victories in the Aloha State have all come at Kapalua in the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, he’s off to a pretty good start at Waialae with an opening 64 that included four birdies and an eagle on the par-4 16th.
Appleby, the PGA TOUR’S Comeback Player of the Year in 2010, has plenty of company, though, with Justin Rose and Mark Wilson a shot back. Another shot back from that is Chris Riley.
Perhaps the most surprising name near the top of the leaderboard right now? Alexandre Rocha, who is a 33-year-old rookie from Brazil making his debut this week.
While Rocha played in just four career TOUR events prior to this week, he did show flashes at last year’s Honda Classic, which he got into after going through two qualifiers. He opened with a 66 to sit just one shot off the lead before finishing in a tie for 59th.